For love of wealth: How teaching institutions create class divide in students for money

While the private educational institutes couldn’t boast enough of their top-ranked students achieving great numbers and ranks in the recently announces class 10 and 12 board exams, the educationists in the valley have a different picture to raise their eyebrows at.Since the declaration of Class 10 and 12 results, the top newspapers here, have received numbers of advertisements by several private institutes giving away their ‘heartiest congratulations’ to their respective toppers.

Not taking anything away from these top-rankers, but there are a number of questions that have been raised by the experts while batting for those students who haven’t scored that well.
Here’s the case of Waseem Ahmad Yattoo of Hyder Beigh Pattan, in Baramulla.

Waseem scored 59 percent in class 12. A student of ‘Proud Coaching Centre’, he is feeling “inferior” to his friends and cousins, who are going to get featured on the banner that will be displaying the institute’s top-rankers.

“I failed to meet my parents’ expectations,” he said in a low voice. “Not like I am not happy seeing the scores and photos of my friends in newspapers, but that’s in a way making me question my capabilities. When will I perform like them?” he asked.

Waseem has always been an average student. As per him, the low scores have always put his parents “down” in front of other relatives. “I don’t think we will be distributing sweets or anything. This 59 per cent isn’t something my Abbu could talk about,” he said refusing to take any more questions.

Numan Afzal, another young resident of Saida Kadal in Srinagar, who has recently been promoted to class 10, says that ever since the newspapers have started carrying the top-scorers list with their marks, his parents have put him under immense “pressure”. “All they have been telling me these days is to study well and get as many marks as these toppers have scored. I am good at studies, but this continuous poking stresses me a lot,” said Numan.

Like Waseem and Numan, there are thousands of other low scorers who have to go through a, more or less, a similar emotional suffering at the time of their results.
Ask Kashmir’s renowned educationist and psychologist A G Madhosh about it, he blames the state’s education system for allowing the institutes to “publicise” the marks, which, as per him, put students in a state of “mental trauma”.

“No educational institutes in the Western countries are allowed to publicise the marks. Why are we? These advertisements lead to competition among students, and that drastically affects the mental state of average scorers. This is just not good. You see the suicide rates?” said Madhosh.

Madhosh referring to suicides may not be an exaggeration in a country which has one of the world’s highest suicide rates among youth aged 15 to 29.
Bashing the private institutes for commericialising and branding through advertisements and banners, another educationist Noor Ul Amin, Assistant Professor, Department of Education University of Kashmir, criticised this act as “total nonsense and ridiculous”.

“Not humans, robots and products are coming out of these institutes now. What’s the race for? Tell me! Aren’t the same teachers, who may have secured 60 percent during their time, teaching the students who now score in 90 percentile?” he asks. The institutes, says Amin, “sells education”. “It needs to be stopped.”

Ask G N Var, President Private Schools’ Association, he agrees that they “never thought of it and will look after the matter”. “I agree that advertising the toppers’ names and marks will leave an impact on the students with low scores. I will raise this issue and the matter should be addressed,” he assured.

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